Reclaiming space on a Windows boot disk

Where I work we have a number of older servers with limited space on the boot disk (normally C:). Here are some things I have found to help recover that space. Going through these things on a server that nearly filled up the C: drive this morning netted me around 2G of recovered space. Note: I am assuming your system is in a normal running state, you do not have installs waiting for a reboot, and you are the only one logged on.

  • Check C:\Windows\Temp and delete everything that isn’t in use. Windows Explorer will tell you it is in use when you try to delete it.
  • C:\Windows\PCHealth\ErrorRep\QSIGNOFF has two folders, QSIGNOFF and UserDumps. These hold error reporting and crash dump files, which can get quite large – on this server it was well over a gigabyte of space. Not only can you delete these, you can prevent them from accumulating. Get properties on “My Computer”, go to the Advanced tab and click Error Reporting. Disable error reporting and click OK.
  • You can delete “C:\Windows\system32\wbem\Logs\FrameWork.log. This file can get pretty big, on this server it was over 250M. That may not sound like much but when you’re desperate for space, every little bit helps.
  • You will find a number of $NtUninstallKB999999$ folders in C:\Windows. These are from Windows patches and are only required in the unlikely event you would want to uninstall a patch. If that is not a concern, you can delete them. If you think you might someday need them, just move them to another drive in a folder you’ll remember, say \Uninstall. :) Unfortunately you may need to do this on a periodic basis as patches are installed.
  • You can move the system paging file to another drive, but you should think about what if any impact this might have on performance for both Windows and the applications and files on the drive you are moving it to. Changing it will also require a reboot to take effect. To change paging files, go to My Computer properties on the Advanced tab and click Settings under Performance, then the Advanced tab there and finally click Change.
  • Do a Windows search and look for all files over 1M. You will have to use your knowledge and experience to know what to do with the results; if you are not sure then don’t delete it!
  • You may want to open the Control Panel’s Add or Remove Programs and look for things you know you no longer need. Same goes for Add/Remove Windows Components.
  • Delete unnecessary user profiles. You can do this easily by clicking Settings under User Profiles on the Advanced tab on My Computer properties.
  • For remaining user profiles, clean out C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Temp, which is normally their working %temp% space when logged in. But, be careful about doing this for user profiles that do not represent people, e.g. NetworkService. Such “users” may be actively using those folders.
  • You might want to also look at C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Desktop (their desktop) and C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\My Documents (their My Documents). I know I am guilty of putting installers and the like in these locations and forgetting to delete them when finished, and some can run into hundreds of megabytes.
  • C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files is another possibility, as that is where IE caches files. Unfortunately they can be hard to “see”; you will need to be sure you have Folder options set to show hidden files and folders and have not checked Hide protected operating system files.
  • It’s easy and perhaps obvious, but don’t forget to empty the Recycle Bin.
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6 Responses to Reclaiming space on a Windows boot disk

  1. alchemist1981 says:

    Very nicely put With explanation…thank you

  2. Blunoser says:

    I know I am real late to the party here, and this post has been very helpful! I was also wondering if the MSSBSSSR.log could be removed or at least reduced? this file is about .5GB on the server right now… Thanks again!

  3. Rodrigo says:

    Very good indicators! Thanks for sharing :-)

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  5. It’s nearly impossible to find experienced people for this subject, however, you sound like you know what
    you’re talking about! Thanks

  6. Bhanu says:

    got perfect link Thanks!!

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